Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A recipe - beef with broccoli

I just made something so amazing that I had to write about it immediately, before I'm even done eating it. Mainly, so I don't forget the recipe. I found the recipe online somewhere but I think I tweaked it enough to call it my own. 

We've been making a serious effort to cook more, to save money, but mostly to save calories. And I actually kind of like cooking, surprisingly, minus the cleanup. Tonight I was craving Chinese, but instead of ordering takeout, I decided to make beef with broccoli, one of the healthier typical americanized chinese foods. Its also low-carb, which is what I'm needing lately, since i hit the "bad number". The bad number is a particular number on the scale, and if you reach it, you need to pull out all the stops to lose that shit. 

So anyway, here's the recipe:

3/4 pound of flank steak or sirloin
3/4 pound of broccoli florets, chopped
2 tablespoons high-heat cooking oil (I used sesame)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon cornstarch, dissolved in 1 tablespoon of water


1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon of corn starch
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

2 tablespoons hoisen sauce
1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon fresh ginger (I used ginger paste in a squeeze tube)

1. Thinly slice the flank steak against the grain. 
2. Mix up the marinade and cover the steak, I put mine in a gallon sized ziplock back. Set aside for 20 minutes or longer.
3. Mix up the all the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
4. Heat up two tablespoons of oil in a large skillet, on high heat.
5. When the oil is hot, dump in the beef slices and spread them out. Let them cook for about a minute without stirring.  Then flip over, add the garlic and let it all cook for another minute, until there is no pink left.
6. Add the broccoli to the pan. Then pour in all of the sauce and bring to a boil, about one minute.
7. Add the cornstarch/water mixture and stir it in, let it cook for another minute. The sauce will thicken. Cook until the broccoli is tender yet crisp, which should only take a minute or two. 

I served mine over brown rice (a measly half cup, boo). It's awesome!

Monday, September 26, 2011

I'm on a boat.

I went away this weekend with all my very best friends. We all met in college and of my different groups of friends, these are the ones I know will always be around. We're essentially a big weird family.

We stayed at our newly married friends' parents' lakehouse in Ohio. The house was gorgeous and big enough for us all to sleep comfortably. Frank and I got a bedroom to ourselves (bonus of being one of the few married couples in the group!), the lake was right in the backyard, the pontoon boat was docked and ready to go, and we had a ton of breakfast meat. Pretty much, the perfect weekend.

It was also in the 60's while we were there, so it really felt like fall. 

I didn't waste any time getting a fishing rod out and going to work. Frank also tried his luck but nothing was biting.

I was a little obsessed with taking photos of the mushrooms. They were so crazy looking!

Mushroom fun.

On our sunset cruise. That sailboat is not us :P

Frank and I, he's wearing the sweatshirt that he wore every single day of 2003.

A photo of the whole crew. I wish that Miller Lite can wasn't in the way, but ML has been a staple in our friendship for the last 7 or 8 years, so it fits.

I tried to set up a pic of us with the sunset in the background but my camera must have slipped. And Frank looked like an asshole.

The girls, on our romantic sunset cocktail cruise.

The boys drooled over the sailboats. 

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Hockey Night

Frank finally took me to a hockey game! I've been saying for years that I wanted to go to one. Well I guess I could have but my main stipulation is that it has to be free, because there's no way I'm paying money to watch a sports event, when that money could be put toward something important, like a new pair of Hunter boots.

But Frank finally got some free tickets from work so we got to go to a preseason game last night. And because we're fancy(??) they were catered box seats, score. Here are some pictures, but none of me and Frank because I suck at blogging. 

Obviously I was more excited about the food than the hockey. Our box came with cheesesteaks, italian hoagies, sausage sandwiches, sushi, Mediterranean artichoke salad, hummus, pita, chips and salsa, goat cheese and red pepper dip, soft pretzels, beer, wine, etc. Nom.

I was pretty excited about this blimp that floated around the arena.

Yay hockey.

And since I didn't include any people pictures, here is Wilbur, stalking squirrels. He just stands there and wines, with a puddle of drool on the floor. It's like he's at a beagle strip club. The cat stands by in support. 

Monday, September 12, 2011

Deep conversations

After Frank got home from class he heated up some leftover turkey. I told him he needed to eat a vegetable. A few minutes later . . .

F: Are you happy, Em? I'm eating my vegetables.
E: What did you have?
F: A tomato and garula?
E: What?
F: Argola.
E: Arugula?
F: Yeah, arugula.
E: That's lettuce.

Friday, September 9, 2011

The town I live in is . . . interesting. Anytime someone asks me where I live, I hesitate to answer. It's not really the nicest place in our city. It's not like its dangerous or there's a lot of crime, it's just pretty rundown and almost a ghost town. It is one of the last remaining steel towns around Pittsburgh, with one steel mill that's actually still in operation. (If you don't know much about Pittsburgh, you might picture it as a smoky dirty town as it was when it produced a ton of steel, but it's not like that anymore.) 

A while back, there was some pretty devastating flooding, which destroyed most of the businesses on Main Street. Most of them cut their losses and closed their stores and restaurants, leaving abandoned storefronts. A few bars, restaurants, and random shops still exist, but a lot of them still have a lot of flood damage. We ordered take out from one of the restaurants one time but never ordered again, because the smell of mildew in the restaurant was so intense that we were turned off by it.

It's kind of sad, and these ridiculous ordinances in the town prevent ANY chain restaurants from opening. I can understand not wanting chains in a really nice main street town, but this place is struggling and any kind of business that would create jobs and bring in tax money would help. 

The fact that we landed in this small town is kind of funny, because Frank actually went to Catholic grade school here and has all kind of memories of it. Our house isn't in this downtown area, we live on the outskirts on top of a huge hill, where they built our townhome community. The town fought the construction of our houses for years, the didn't want anything new there. Our house isn't expensive by any means but it's new and nice. When you drive outside of our little neighborhood, the houses are older and somewhat dilapidated. This place is fine for us now, but once we have kids, we know we'll have to go somewhere with a better school district.

I really don't like this place. It pisses me off how backward it is. It could be a really nice place but all the politics are led by the business owners, and they don't want any new business to compete with theirs. Tonight we went to the town's Arts and Heritage Festival. It was a very cultural experience . . .  

The main commercial attraction . . . Family Dollar.

The festivities on Main Street. I really think this place could be nice if more businesses opened up.

The flyer advertised arts, crafts, food, and clothing vendors. The Pittsburgh fashion scene wouldn't be complete with out a "Drink Up Yinz Bitches" t-shirt . 

This guy was selling bones, skulls, and various taxidermied animal parts. I begged frank for a deer skull to no avail.

Being cultural. 

I hate this place, but someday we will move somewhere nicer and will appreciate it so much more. Peace out, from the hood.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

What I've been listening to

I've realized that music can completely change the mood I'm in. Take yesterday for example. I was in a pretty down mood. I popped in my ear buds and cranked it out to some Gaga on the treadmill and my mood was instantly lifted. Yeah, I'm sure it had to do with the exercise too, but I knew the music also had a part in it. 

I thought I'd share the Spotify playlist that I've been listening to on repeat for about a month. It's pretty random, and made up mostly of songs that I heard on Pandora and bookmarked. Oh, what would I do without music social networking? I LOVE Spotify (and I just use the free version) but I haven't really figured out the social aspect of it yet. Does anyone use that and want to give me some pointers?

Anyone have any new suggestions? I need some new playlists!

Thursday, September 1, 2011


A few weeks ago, when we were in Chicago, I got the urge to chop off all my hair. I blame it on the ridiculous humidity and heat, and the fact that Frank's cousin had a really good haircut. I started dreaming of short, sleek, angled haircuts.

So as soon as we got home, i made an appointment to get my hairs cut and dyed. But of course I chickened out at the last minute and didn't go for the short cut that I was inspired by. Instead, I got something in between, awkward-length and  .  . . meh. I couldn't commit. 

It was also WAY too dark at the beginning and I looked a little emo for a while. Now it's dulled down a little, some of my natural highlights have poked through, and i'm looking a little less goth. Here are some gratuitous selfies.

Also, I bought some product while I was at the salon, because I'm a sucker for that. I'm not sure if Regis salons are all over the country or not, but they have fake Moroccan oil. Moroccan oil is AMAZING and I've stolen a drop or two from my sister before. But it's like $40 for a tiny bottle. Regis makes a very similar argan oil product called "Fiji Therapy", and it's much cheaper. My hairdresser admitted that its not quite as concentrated as Moroccan oil, but that unless you have really thick and frizzy hair, you won't notice the difference. And I didn't notice the difference. 

Ill try to blog about something more exciting next time!